New housing must showcase zero carbon living
Now that the Secretary of State has refused permission for new housing at Barton Farm, Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC) is calling on developers and the City Council to create housing that helps people to live without greenhouse gas emissions.
“People need to be able to shop, work and go to school within walking and cycling distance of their homes, wherever they may be”, said Ernie Shelton, Chair of WinACC. “This decision gives us a chance to give firm, clear guidance to developers to create low-carbon housing, future-proofed against climate change.”  
At a recent joint meeting between WinACC and the City of Winchester Trust, an overwhelming majority of people felt that the current normal suburban densities and high parking levels are not what we need. A more concentrated development, such as the well-liked terraces in the city centre, would free up land for playing fields, allotments and recreation. 

WinACC wants all housing developments to include public transport with links to Winchester that are easy, quick and frequent. Mike Slinn, chair of WinACC’s Transport Group, said: “The dangers were well illustrated at the public enquiry on Barton Farm. Cala Homes were saying that they had provided funding for a bus into town, but we discovered that it was not enough for Hampshire County Council to pay for a service in the evenings or on Sundays, making it harder for people on Barton Farm to live without a car. The next development proposal that comes through needs to be much more carefully scrutinised to make sure that the transport is adequate.”

WinACC would like to see a local “combined heat and power” system in any development. Such a scheme that uses renewable energy would also cut residents fuel bills - in Andover, residents' bills are only £100 a year, on average. A scheme like this could even be used for air conditioning.
 
New buildings should also use the minimum amount of energy. This means meeting the highest standards of design in their energy conservation, such as the Scandinavian "Passivhaus" standard of 15 kWh/m2/yr maximum total energy demand for space heating and cooling. A compact layout of town houses would make this easier to achieve.
 
Houses should recycle water, so that comparatively clean “used” water, e.g. from the bath, is used where possible, e.g. for flushing the WC.

Like everyone else, WinACC members also prefer new housing to be built on sites that have already been used (so-called “brownfield” sites) rather than on green fields. WinACC calls on developers and planners to do all they can to ensure that all development in Winchester, wherever it is, is to a quality which we can be proud of, and to a standard that makes it possible for people to live there without costing the earth. 

Note to editors
  1. Government has made it clear that its intention is to return decision making powers in housing and planning to local authorities. This is a key planning priority for the Government and the Secretary of State considers that in this particular case it is important to give Winchester the opportunity to complete its Blueprint process. He observes that the appeal proposal is very significant in scale – indeed, if Winchester were to adopt a future housing requirement for the non-PUSH area at the same level as that currently set out in the SEP, the appeal proposal alone would provide a housing land supply of more than 7 years for the non-PUSH area. The Secretary of State takes the view that, if a decision was taken now to allow such a significant housing scheme, this would be likely to undermine the work currently being carried out in Winchester to establish a new bottom-up housing strategy. Whilst he has taken account of the Inspector’s view at IR351 that the appeal proposal is necessary in order to provide an assured supply of housing and meet the SEP’s longer term (as well as its shorter term) housing requirements, he gives greater weight to the impact of a grant of permission on Winchester’s Blueprint process, which is in line with the Government’s intention to allow local communities a far greater role in identifying the level and location of housing needed in their areas, and to his conclusions on the scheme’s conflict with LP Policy MDA.2. For these reasons, he does not consider that the provision of housing for the medium and long term is a matter which merits significant weight in his determination of this case.
  2. Winchester Action on Climate Change was formed in October 2007 to engage every household and every organisation in Winchester district in cutting the carbon footprint of the district by a third by 2015. More at www.winacc.org.uk
  3. For more information or interview, please contact:
  • Ernie Shelton, WinACC Chair, 07769 112670
  • Mike Slinn, Chair, WinACC Transport group, 01962 865348 / 07803 136831
  • David Ashe, WinACC Built Environment Group, 01962 841404
  • Chris Holloway, Director, WinACC, 01962 827083 / 07779 283451 email press@winacc.org.uk